Life backwards

Life goes backwards.

What do you mean life goes backwards?

This thought came to me for the first time in my student years, probably a couple of years before university. That time when we must make one of the most important choices of our life: What do I want to be? A Doctor? An Engineer? An Artist? A Technician? The list is endless, but society pressures us into choosing one.

It was surely during the days spent daydreaming about that choice that I started disagreeing with the status-quo. What if I dislike my choice? What if I choose wrong?

Nevertheless, I had to choose something, so I studied Aerospace Engineering (the reason for the choice is a topic for another post!). While at University, I kept thinking “what next?”. I will graduate, find a job and work until 67 (or whatever the retirement age is by then?). Basically have to do the same thing over and over 5 days per week? For over 40 years?

Does it only seem wrong to me?

So my thoughts that life is backwards started really taking shape. When you’re young you have time and health but don’t have money. In your working years you have health and money, but don’t have time. When you reach retirement, you have money and time, but are no longer fit to enjoy them fully.

How do you break this cycle?

There are surely multiple ways, but I tried going to the root of the problem first. I am glad I studied Engineering, if only to help develop my logical thinking:

  • What do people need to live in our modern world?
    Money, basically (to buy food, shelter and good heathcare).
  • How can you get money if you don’t have it?
    By far the most common way is to get a job, so let’s go with that one.
  • How much money do you need to get?
    Well, here is where there is no straightforward answer!

But I could not stop here. Of course each person is different, but at this point I was thinking of myself. How can I break the cycle. How much money do I need to be able to enjoy life as I see fit?!?!?!

As stated above, I need to be able to afford shelter and food, for the rest of my life. Plus whatever expenses I will have for leisure and hobbies. At that time I set for myself a target of 2000€ per month. Although I don’t remember how I did exactly the math, I arrived at a target of 500.000€, which, when properly invested, should give a return of 2000€ monthly.

There, I had the answer I needed. I had now a new goal! I would just do what everyone else does, finish my studies, get a job, and save 500.000€!

So I did almost exactly that. Six years ago I finished my studies and got a job, which I quit recently. But I did not save 500.000. Life likes to take your plans and spin them around, especially because we are not alone to execute our perfectly crafted plans. Almost four years ago I met my now wife Margarida, and since then we are trying to live life a little less backwards, together.

João

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